The 41st edition of “Ristoranti e Vini d’Italia” (Restaurants and Wines of Italy), the guide published every year by L’Espresso, one of Italy's foremost weekly newsmagazines, was presented last week in Florence (inaugurating the ‘2019 season’ of the culinary guides, which concludes in November with the release of the most prestigious of all, the Michelin guide).
More than 2,000 dining establishments are featured in the L’Espresso 2019 guide, and not just the fanciest ones, but also trattorie, osterie, pizzerie, street food places, vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants, hamburger places, panino (sandwich) places, and more. (Incidentally, L’Espresso’s selection represents just 1% of the 200,000 restaurants open in Italy. These were reviewed by a team of 90 food journalists who every year visit approximately 7,000 restaurants across the boot.)
Restaurants in the guide are assigned from one to five hats, with one hat indicating a good cuisine and five hats indicating excellence, the best overall.
There are seven restaurants in the guide with five hats:
Lido 84 in Gardone Riviera (new entry), on Lake Garda
Casadonna Reale in Castel di Sangro, L’Aquila (Abruzzo)
Le Calandre in Rubano, Padua (Veneto)
Osteria Francescana in Modena (Emilia-Romagna)
Piazza Duomo in Alba, Cuneo (Piedmont)
Uliassi in Senigallia (Marche)
St. Hubertus in San Cassiano, Badia valley of South Tyrol (new entry)
A new category was introduced last year, the ‘Cappello d’Oro’ (Golden Hat), this signals those restaurants that have made the history of Italian cuisine, they are:
Caino in Montemerano, Grosseto (Tuscany)
Casa Vissani in Baschi, Terni (Umbria)
Colline Ciociare in Acuto, Frosinone (Lazio)
Dal Pescatore in Canneto sull’Oglio, Mantua
Don Alfonso 1890 in Sant’Agata sui Due Golfi (Naples)
Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence
Lorenzo in Forte dei Marmi, Lucca (Tuscany)
Miramonti l’altro in Concesio, Brescia (Lombardy)
Romano in Viareggio (Tuscany)
San Domenico in Imola, Bologna (Emilia-Romagna)
Much awaited every year is the single prizes category, here’s an overview:
Lunch of the year: Osteria Francescana (which this year won first place in the 50 Best World’s Restaurants guide), Modena
Best host service: Palagio at Four Seasons in Florence
Best new restaurant of the year: there are two in the 2019 guide, Gorini in San Piero in Bagno (Forlì-Cesena, Emilia-Romagna) helmed by the young chef Gianluca Gorini, and Dina in Gussago (Brescia, Lombardy), run by self-taught chef Alberto Gipponi
Best Young Chef of the Year: Fabrizio Mellino, Quattro Passi in Nerano (Naples)
Patisserie of the year: the three Michelin-starred St. Hubertus in San Cassiano (Bolzano, South Tyrol), with pastry chef Andrea Tortora.
Female chef of the year: Chiara Pavan, from one Michelin-starred restaurant Venissa in Mazzorbo (Venice).
The L’Espresso guide now has a dedicated website and an app.